10 Irresistible Paris Pastries (and Where to Eat them)

Millions of tourists flock to Paris’ scenic streets each year, many in search of the perfect shot of the Eiffel Tower. For food lovers, they have the opportunity to taste the sweet, buttery perfection of some of the best pastries the world has to offer.

Parisian pastry chefs are famed for their skills, which they train long and hard to hone in order to craft pastries that can take you to heaven with every bite.

From the classic croissant to fruity treats, here are 10 irresistible Parisian pastry superstars and recommendations of where to devour them in France’s capital city:

1) The Macaron

Multiflavored macarons. Photo by Julien Haler.

It is the meringue base that makes French macarons so light and special. These small, round treats are made with almonds and come in many flavors.

They are sandwiched together with ganache, butter creams and jam. The vivid colors that make macarons so appealing are a feast for the eyes as much as a treat for your taste buds.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Hugo Victor.

2) The Tarte Tatin

Golden caramelized tarte tatin. Photo by joyosity.

Caramelized apple cooked to a golden brown sugary sweetness is the vital ingredient in tarte tatin.

Cooked in the pan with the pastry on top, this dish results in an upside down feat of glory when served onto the plate. It is especially delicious when eaten warm with a spoon of tart crème fraiche.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Laduree.

3) The Éclair

Éclair modern art at Fauchon. Photo by I’m George.

Airy choux pastry, piped full with cream and topped with fondant, the éclair defines French pastries and fills patisseries around Paris.

Traditional fillings and toppings of chocolate, caramel or coffee comprise the traditional éclair, but these classic tastes have also made way for more modern twists with artful decorations and intriguing flavors like sesame.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Fauchon.

4) The Paris Brest

Cream-stuffed Paris Brest. Photo by yoppy.

Created in 1891 to celebrate the Paris to Brest bike ride, this pastry comprises a ring of choux shaped to look like a bicycle wheel.

Filled with an abundance of cream and served throughout Paris, this pastry is a divine tribute to the sport of the same name.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Carl Marletti.

5) The Petits Four

Bite-sized petits four. Photo by Thomas Claveirole.

Petits four is a collection of small confectionary usually served at the end of a meal, or for the sweet-toothed, it is perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.

From dainty tartlets to puff-pastry bites, petits four offer the perfect sampling plate of flavors. The difficulty will be choosing a favorite.

Patisserie recommendation: head to La Maison de Petit Four.

6) The Choux à La Crème

Chocolate-topped choux à la crème. Photo by Andrew Michaels.

These delicate rounds of hollow pastry are commonly filled with cream and covered with gooey chocolate to create a profiterole.

However, flavors can vary as can toppings from ice cream to spun caramel, fruit and frostings. Piled high, they create the famous Parisian wedding cake, the croquembouche.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Pain de Sucre.

7) The Tarte au Citron

Contemporary tarte au citron. Photo by lil’bear.

The bite of smooth lemon contrasts perfectly with the short buttery crust of tarte au citron, which is a French pastry institution.

Evoking thoughts of warm summer days, this tart can take you on a sensory journey that will leave you wanting more of this refreshing dessert.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Gerard Mulot.

8) The Mille-Feuille

Mille-feuille puff pastry dream. Photo by T.M.O.F.

Meaning “thousand sheets,” mille-feuille is a delight of flaky puff pastry layers alternated with sweet cream filling (crème pâtissière).

Icing sugar is dusted or fondant spread and combed with chocolate for the perfect topping.

Patisserie recommendation: head to La Patisserie des Reves.

9) The Croissant

Classic croissant, a Parisian staple. Photo by Tom Newby Photography.

The croissant is one of Paris’ most iconic pasties.

Buttery yet flaky to the touch, this breakfast staple can be enjoyed dipped in chocolate or spread with butter. Raspberry compote and rose fondant offer a contemporary alternative.

Patisserie recommendation: head to Pierre Herme.

10) The Tartes aux Fruits

Sentiments of summer with tartes aux fruits. Photo by kimberlykv.

The freshest fruits are intricately layered on top of Chantilly crème, which sits lightly inside an all-butter pastry case to make melt-in-the-mouth tartes aux fruits.

Strawberry and raspberry versions mark the start of summer in Paris.

Patisserie recommendation:head to Café Pouchkine.

If you liked this, you might also like: How to be a Fashionable Foodie in 2012.

Have you been to any of these Parisian Patisseries? What were your impressions? Let me know in the comments.

Main photo: Parisian patisserie heaven by joshje.

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